Del. SC gives Mercedes to dealership

John O'Brien Nov. 20, 2007, 4:43pm


DOVER, Del. - An automobile dealership finally had its clerical error overturned by the Delaware Supreme Court after years of disputes.

Rhonda Mack will finally have to return the 2005 Mercedes Benz she purchased from Pennmark Auto Group in Aug. 2004. An error was made when the company submitted the amount of her down payment, leaving her with a smaller monthly.

Mack paid $3,500 down on the contract, worth nearly $45,000. Pennmark mistakenly wrote it down as $24,500, leaving her with 60 monthly payments of $366.45.

After she left, Pennmark discovered the error and asked Mack to either return the car or sign a new contract. She refused and kept up with her smaller monthly payments.

It took more than a year after Pennmark filed an action for reformation until the Court of Chancery ruled to have the accurate down payment credited to Mack, increasing the monthly payments almost $400.

Mack didn't appeal, but also didn't pay the full monthly payment. Pennmark claimed Mack was in default of the contract and filed in the state's Superior Court to have the car returned.

"Mack appeared and testified at the hearing," wrote Justice Jack Jacobs, one of three justices to hear the case. "At the conclusion of the hearing, the Superior Court entered judgment for Pennmark 'for two independent reasons.'

"First, the Superior Court determined that Mack had waived her right to contest the action because she had failed to file a required 'notice of intention to appear.' Second, the Superior Court determined on the merits that Mack was in default of the reformed contract. This appeal followed."

Jacobs and justices Carolyn Berger and Henry duPont Ridgely all rejected Mack's argument that she did not understand the purpose of the Superior Court hearing and was not in default of the reformed contract.

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1007 North Market Street
Wilmington, DE 19899

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